THE inaugural Dessie Gorman Cup -which is a celebration of the Dunfield Youth Project - was won by Linfield Youths following an absorbing football encounter with a Dundalk side made up of youth players and Schoolboys league players at Oriel Park last Wednesday night.
Milo Corcoran, Setanta Sports Cup Committee Chairman, accompanied the legendary Dessie Gorman - who was a scoring sensation for both Dundalk and Linfield - in the presentation of the trophy to the young blues team who emerged 2-1 winners on the night in front of over 100 people.
The Dessie Gorman Cup is an annual friendship challenge that was launched by the ‘Dundalk Hawk’ during the recent Goodwill Visit by Dundalk Supporters to Windsor Park prior to the 1st leg of the Setanta Sports Cup.
The Linfield players, management and supporters enjoyed some post match hospitality at Oriel Park, as veterans of both clubs renewed friendships formed over the years of the Dunfield Youth Project.
Linfield Supporters Groups have also been invited to return to Oriel Park as guests of DFC Trust for a forthcoming Airtiricty League match, to follow the 2nd leg of the Setanta Sports Cup First Round match on Monday
Dundalk had the first opening of the game in the 6th minute when Glen Traynor’s delightful ball over the top found Jamie McCaul. He raced through the Linfield defence but his volley was well saved by Linfield’s Ross Glendenning.
Linfield’s Jude Winchester then crossed for Curtis Black but he headed wide at the back post from seven-yards out, the closest any team came to scoring in the opening 20 minutes.
The opening goal soon followed. Jude Winchester, who was at the centre of everything for Linfield, set up the opening goal. His ball found Caolan McAleer in the box. He shot low at Ciaran Taaffe’s bottom corner, the shot cannoned of the post but hit the Lilywhites keeper on the way back out to drop into the net to make 1-0 for the visitors.
Dundalk almost found themselves back on terms when Karl Martin ran through the middle before releasing Kurt Murphy. The striker did well to hold off a defender only to hit the side net from a tight angle.
Caolan McAleer then ran through the Dundalk midfield his but shot went well over from 25-yards. Taaffe was called into action soon after following a Linfield short corner. Jude Bullard and Jude Winchester combined before crossing for Niall Quinn whose header was comfortable for the goalkeeper.
Another clear cut chance arrived for the Blues before half-time. Jude Winchester ran into the box and squared it for Curtis Blake but the move was halted by an important intervention from Dundalk’s Rian Hand.
The Belfast club tightened their grip on the trophy in the second half when Jude Winchester scored from the penalty spot after he was brought down by Darren Meehan, a soft decision by the referee.
Just when it looked like the game was over for Dundalk, they pulled one back. Martin Murphy played a superb ball into the box for Kieran Clinton to cushion his header into the bottom corner and set up an exciting finish.
The home side pushed for an equaliser and they had a chance to pull levels following some brilliant play in the midfield by Jamie McCaul. He found his way into the Linfield penalty area only to see his shot blocked from nine-yards as Linfield held on to claim the trophy.
Dundalk’s young side will take some positives from the match including the return of Gerard McSorley after six months out injured. The striker showed some neat touches when he came in the 75th minute. Next years Dessie Gorman Cup will take in Belfast where Dundalk will be looking to get their hands on the new trophy.
Dundalk YOUTHS: Ciaran Taaffe (David McKenny), Martin Murphy (Paddy McShane), Aidan Sheekey, Rian Hand (Niall Hearty), Glen Traynor, Darren Meehan, Karl Martin, Gary Shevlin, Kieran Clinton (Gerard McSorley), Kurt Murphy (Brendan O’Carroll), Jamie McCaul (Ross Keown).
Linfield U17: Ross Glendenning, Ben Mulgillen, Niall Quinn, Andrew Evans (Steven Cockcraft), Josh Rosin, Steven Gordon, Caolan McAleer (Conor Connolly), Jude Winchester, Ross Clarke (Jamie Cleary), Aaron Sills, Curtis Black (Carter Dawson), Jude Bullard.
Referee: Trevor Blanch.